Matt Lodge | Astrophysics


Virtual Reality: Click on the cardboard glasses (or any of these three links) for the VR versions of the branched fractal, compact cluster, or elongated cluster!

I am currently a PhD student working with Hannah Wakeford and Zoe Leinhart at the University of Bristol, determined to uncover the secrets hidden within the atmospheres of distant planets in other solar systems. In particular, my research is focussed on understanding the true optical properties of aerosol particulates that we expect to find in these atmospheres. My work is primarily dedicated to improving the way in which we model how these particles interact with the light that passes through (and reflects off) their atmospheres, as they orbit their host star.

Much of my research so far has been dedicated to improving optical models. Most current analyses of exoplanet atmospheres model all aerosols as spherical, but we know that many of the ones on Earth exhibit much more complex geometries. Below are three real examples of aerosol particles that were captured above Mexico City, and then scanned using a Tunnelling Electron Microscope by Kouji Adachi, Peter Buseck and Serena Chung (explored further in their (2010) paper here).

I am very grateful to Kouji, Peter and Serena for allowing me to use their scanned particle geometries in our study. They can be explored in 3D below (in particular, check out the awesome VR function)!

A paper discussing the optical properties of the aerosols above will be ready to view here as soon as it is checked for typos (very soon) - watch this space.

About Me

As some personal information, I am most often found at the beach (surfing) or in the mountains (snowboarding), and I have also recently learned to paraglide, which has been awesome! I also love to spend time in and under the water, and most of my holidays are planned around diving with an amazing new animal (I have been lucky enough to spend time with whale sharks, humpback calves, dolphins, mantas, nurse sharks, seahorses and many more).

In addition to my PhD role, I also hold the position of "widening participation tutor", where we invite disadvantaged students from local schools to the University to experience a research environment, as well as visiting schools and providing equipment that allows them to complete interesting and engaging experiments that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to explore. I also tutor foundation-year degree students, as well as undergraduates at the University of Bristol, and I recently received two nominations for "Inspiring and Innovative Teacher of the Year 2023", which I am very grateful for.

Prior to completing the PhD, I was a secondary school teacher, and I maintain strong links with the schools and pupils that I used to teach, offering tuition for GCSE and A-level students, as well as volunteering with "Refugee Support Devon" where we provide tutoring to those that require it.

I am also very grateful to be the recipient of the Keith Burgess Scholarship, without which this research would not be possible.

If you have any questions at all about me or my research, please don't hesitate to get in touch and say hello!


Dept. of Physics, University of Bristol